Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Big Kitty (Sunny & Shadow Mystery #1)” as Want to Read:
The Big Kitty (Sunny & Shadow Mystery #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Big Kitty

(Sunny & Shadow Mystery #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,009 ratings  ·  160 reviews
Did curiosity kill the cat lady? 

Sunny Coolidge left her New York City newspaper job to go back to Maine and take care of her ailing father. But there’s not much excitement—or interesting work—in Kittery Harbor. So when Ada Spruance, the town’s elderly cat lady, asks for help finding her supposedly-winning lottery ticket, Sunny agrees. But when she arrives at Ada’s, with a
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Berkley Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Big Kitty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Big Kitty

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,009 ratings  ·  160 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Big Kitty (Sunny & Shadow Mystery #1)
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After taking a leave of absence to care for her ill father, Sunny Coolidge loses her well paying newspaper job in New York City and returns to her home town of Kittery Harbor, Maine. She moves in with her father and is stuck in a low paying job which doesn’t even cover her expenses – not to mention her unreasonable and demanding boss.

When Ada Spruance, also known as the “Cat Lady”, asks Sunny to help locate a missing winning lottery ticket, Sunny agrees to help. When Sunny pays Ada a visit, she
May 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
I am an avid cozy fan and usually love most cat themed mysteries but this turned my stomach. Not only was it offensive to cat lovers by having the one woman in the entire town who was kind to animals and rescued them be a ditzy, hoarder type, "cat lady" but it promoted animal abuse! I was frankly shocked when the main character's father started not only to make obnoxious comments towards his daughter about Shadow the cat but towards the cat as well. When the verbal abuse progressed towards actua ...more
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it
The Big Kitty is the first book in the A Sunny and Shadow Mystery series.

Sunny Coolidge has returned to Kittery Harbor, the town where she grew up, to take care of her father. Ada Spruance, the elderly cat lady of Kittery, asks Sunny if she could help her look for the winning lottery ticket that she has lost. The deadline for turning in the winning tickets coming up very soon. As Sunny is getting ready to head home after this meeting, Sunny finds a large grey cat on sitting on her car. Shadow, a
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ohhh I just love this sweet cat! There were times when I was ready to cry over what he'd experienced in his life. I wanted to cuddle him and tell him he'd be ok. That was one of the cool parts of this third-person mystery. I liked how the author got inside the various characters and gave their viewpoints, including Shadow the cat. Once he spotted Sunny who had moved back home to take care of her dad who was a post-heart attack patient, Shadow knew he'd found his forever human. The mystery was a ...more
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I did like this one, although I felt like the premise was a little far-fetched to begin with. Ada just picking a random person to help? I think this could have been thought out a bit better. But still, I liked the mystery and the eventual reveal, and I felt like this was a pretty strong start to the series.

This has been on my to-read list for ages, and I was lucky enough to get this for Christmas. I always enjoy a new mystery series, and one based on cats is even better! Four stars.
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The "Fantastic Fiction" website shares that, "Claire Donally is a pseudonym for the author of many other critically acclaimed cozy mysteries." I can only say that I hope some day the author will reveal himself/herself! Until then as a "wannabe" sleuth, I will keep my suspicion under wraps. Without a doubt, the author is very attuned to cat behavior and catitude and has spent time imagining what a cat may be thinking as he/she enjoys his/her daily life. I was captivated, charmed, amused, and marv ...more
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Meet Sunny Coolidge, a New York journalist who has returned home to Kittery Harbor, Maine, to take care of her father after his heart attack. She finds work at the local travel agency for Ollie Barnstable a.k.a "Ollie the Barnacle"" but she hopes it is temporary and that she will be able to land a job at a local newspaper.

She is surprised one day when Ada Spuance, the eldery woman everyone calls "the cat lady" comes into the office and asks Sunny to help her find a winning lottery ticket. Sunny
Chrissy Kettenacker
May 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Yawn. This book was kind of boring. Would have been more interesting if we got to see the murder case thru Shadows perspective.
Nancy Ellis
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first in the series. I had already read the second one, so at least I knew which suspects were ruled out in the first to be able to appear in the second. It's a very cute, relaxing cozy series with Shadow the cat just a regular cat....well, maybe a special regular cat. In other words, no super-powers, no supernatural abilities, or anything like that. It's entertaining the way she writes the cat's thoughts, and the cat assists Sunny in her adventures without even being aware of it. Th ...more
Eileen Lynx
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fast fun read with a nice smart cat.
May 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Best parts were hearing the cat's "thoughts" as he did various things - if you are owned by a cat, or like cats at all, you'll find getting a glimpse of those thoughts to be quite humorous. ...more
Carole Hardinge
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read and a good start to a new series for me. I am jumping right into the second book in this series.
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
An elderly cat lady has a winning lottery ticket but has misplaced it. She asks Sunny to help find it but when Sunny arrives at the house, she finds Ada dead at the bottom of the cellar steps. Too many strange things catch Sunny's interest and she starts to dig into things about what appeared to be an accident, but is really a murder. She has help from a cat named Shadow who originally was one of Ada's, but now has become attached to Sunny. ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
For a debut novel in a new series, I found the book to have a good premise, interesting characters, and a solid mystery. It was a wee bit slow paced but that, I think, is due to the fact that a first book often does.

Sunny Coolidge is now residing in Kittery Harbor, Maine to help her father recover and adjust to his new life as a heart patient. I must admit that the Father's character was off-putting to me, at the beginning, as he was so physically cruel to the cat that Sunny brought home. I can
Paul Lunger
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
The debut novel for Claire Donally in the Sunny & Shadow mystery series takes us to fictional Kittery Harbor, Maine & introduces us to Sunny Coolidge a writer who works in a travel office in this town. When a local resident, Ada Spruance (the local cat lady) who has a lottery ticket worth $6-8M comes up dead after telling her this things a rather clever mystery ensues. Shadow, the cat, ends up adopting Sunny making this a change from the usual items in this genre & he is a cat that's not quite y ...more
Amy Holland
When I saw this book at Lift Bridge Book Shop, I flipped out because we call our cat Gordon "Big Kitty." One I got it home, Big Kitty - true to form - proceeded to puncture the front and back covers with his teeth. Big Kitty was chewing on "The Big Kitty" - SO META. It was an OK book. I didn't love the main character - she seemed a little generic and low on personality. And I don't love it when authors try to write from an animal's perspective - it usually seemed kind of affected or gimmicky or ...more
Ellen Dark
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Another cat book, but the cat is pretty much a cat. The author does tell some of the story from the cat's point of view, but the cat doesn't use people's names and has a limited understanding of the world. Sunny Coolidge has returned to small-town Maine, from NYC, to care for her ailing father. The town "cat lady" asks Sunny to help her look for her winning lottery ticket. When Sunny arrives at the woman's home she finds the woman dead instead. One of the dead woman's cats, Shadow, adopts Sunny. ...more
This was a fun start to a promising series starring a super sweet cozy companion, Shadow. I really enjoyed this book and the characters in it, especially Shadow! I was surprised at some of the language and how it didn't really fit into my definition of "cozy" buy oh well. I also was not thrilled about a couple of scenes of the cat getting abused.
I loved the ending and I think all animal lovers will. The murder was satisfying and the wrap up was convincing. I will read on with this series, but i
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ada Spruance was your typical, elderly cat-person. She loved cats right up till the day she died. . . or was murdered. Sunny Coolidge has moved back to her small home town to care for her ailing father. When she promises to help Ada look for a missing lottery ticket, her life became overly complicated with Ada's death. Add to that a large grey tomcat called Shadow and a handsome police named Will Price, and you have have the makings of a entertaining mystery that will especially appeal to cat lo ...more
Kathleen Roberts
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
The first chapter introduces 2 protagonists essential to the book. I immediately fell in love with the first one who was introduced. I had to stop reading the book after meeting the second one because she is so bitter, hard hearted, snarky, and cynical that I knew I could not stand to spend anymore time with her. This was sad for me, because like I say I really liked the first protagonist the reader meets in the book. He seems like an awesome cat. Why he wanted to spend any time with Sunny is be ...more
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really liked this one! Fast paced and breezy, set in a cute little town in Maine. Fun! I'll be looking for the next in the series when it comes out. ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
This was a very enjoyable read with a great main cat character. I'm looking forward to more in this series! ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. And if you are any kind of cat person, you will love Shadow... I'm looking forward to the second in this new series. ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Loved how it has what the cat is thinking and feeling. Hope there will be more.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I find a lot of cozy mysteries charming; the small town, murder-lite amateur detective stories are always a reliable palate cleanser for my usual reads. When I came across a copy of this at my library, with an illustration of a cat front and center, I decided to give the series a shot with book 1. To my delight, it fulfilled exactly what I needed.

Sunny has returned to her small Maine hometown to care for her ailing father. She left a glamorous journalist job in NYC and, though she didn't know it
Shannon Coil
Oct 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Sunny has moved back home to take care of her sick father. She’s working a boring job with a jerk of a boss. When Ada, known as the crazy cat lady, asks Sunny to help her find her missing lottery ticket worth millions Sunny jumps at the chance. Soon after Ada is found dead presumably by accident. When Sunny goes to Ada’s house she finds the horrid conditions Ada lived in with a house full of cats and filth but no lottery ticket. Shadow, one of the strays, adopts Sunny. Shadow soon becomes an int ...more
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
The author is obviously familiar with, and fond of, cats, to have delineated Shadow so well. I feel as if I have met Shadow "in person" (so to speak), even though he is only a literary character. I look forward to getting to know him better (and Sunny, too) in future volumes of the series.

(Editing oversights found in the 2012 Paperback version:

Page 33, Sunny suddenly became very away that this guy was standing / Sunny suddenly became very AWARE that this guy was standing ; 45, Maybe we should tr
Ellen Moore
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book in a new cozy mystery series. I found it enjoyable. Sunny had left her New York City newspaper job to return to Maine and care for her ailing father. She has contact with a lady in the community who takes in cats, and one large cat adopts Sunny! When Sunny goes to the elderly lady's home to help her search for a lost lottery ticket worth six million dollars, she discovers her murdered at the foot of the cellar stairs. The book deals with the father's heart problems, his d ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
First in a new series! Sunny has moved home to Kittery Harbor, Maine to care for her father after his recent heart attack. She acquires a job at a local company that promotes tourism and handles rentals for tourists. An elderly neighbor, Ada Spurance, asks Sunny help in locating a misplaced lottery ticket she knows to be a multi-million dollar winner. When Sunny arrives to assist Ada, she finds the women is dead. Though police initially rule the death an accident, Sunny believes Ada was killed. ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
To be honest - I was hoping I would enjoy it as much a other cozies with cat "main" characters. Unfortunately I was a little bit disappointed - although mystery itself was quite OK, I had some mixed (negative) feelings about the parts with animal shelters and future of the cats (why is the main character only interested in one cat? why isn't she shocked that all other cats will probably be killed? I was really disappointed that in the end she didn't start some kind of action to encourage people ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Cozy Mystery Corner : Sunny & Shadow by Claire Donally 14 53 Feb 23, 2016 10:58PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Pawful Truth (Cat in the Stacks #11)
  • Verse and Vengeance (Magical Bookshop, #4)
  • Careless Whiskers (Cat in the Stacks #12)
  • Prose and Cons (Magical Bookshop, #2)
  • Through the Grinder (Coffeehouse Mystery, #2)
  • Tailing a Tabby (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery, #2)
  • Double-Booked for Death (Black Cat Bookshop Mystery, #1)
  • Murders and Metaphors (Magical Bookshop, #3)
  • Prologue to Murder (Beyond the Page Bookstore Mystery, #2)
  • Buried to the Brim (Hat Shop Mystery, #6)
  • Latte Trouble (Coffeehouse Mystery, #3)
  • No Cats Allowed (Cat in the Stacks, #7)
  • The Silence of the Library (Cat in the Stacks, #5)
  • Cat Me If You Can (Cat in the Stacks Mystery #13)
  • Out of Circulation (Cat in the Stacks, #4)
  • The Diva Haunts the House (A Domestic Diva Mystery, #5)
  • Lending a Paw (A Bookmobile Cat Mystery, #1)
  • The Cracked Spine (Scottish Bookshop Mystery, #1)
See similar books…

Other books in the series

Sunny & Shadow Mystery (5 books)
  • Cat Nap (Sunny & Shadow Mystery, #2)
  • Last Licks (Sunny & Shadow Mystery, #3)
  • Hiss and Tell (Sunny & Shadow Mystery, #4)
  • Catch as Cat Can (Sunny & Shadow Mystery #5)

Related Articles

  Kellye Garrett's first novel, Hollywood Homicide, was released in August 2017 and won the Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Independent Publisher...
201 likes · 49 comments